I’m a consummate networker…probably the best networker in the world ( …like Carlsberg) yet even with this type of enthusiasm I am still reminded of some pretty cool things when it comes to networking.
A close business colleague of mine moved to Monaco recently for investments purpose. When I asked how the move went and if he was adapting well, he did say that Monaco was not necessarily little old ladies with mink coats carrying their poodles under their arms (I guess the place had changed since my last visit). He did tell me that Monaco was business friendly and the environment was easy to meet, connect and talk business.
In fact in the elevator someone would say to my colleague ‘You’re new here – I have not seen you before in the elevator. My name is SO and SO. So what kind of business are you in….perhaps we can do business together?
This, I might add is all happening between the time it took to go up or down the elevator. OMG.
Now across the Atlantic in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (home of the 1988 Winter Olympics, the Calgary Stampede and Canada’s oil patch) the concept is about the same except you need to use 3 code words: ‘Meet and Greet’.
Say I want to meet Ben Jones, VP at Esso. I don’t know Ben but my friend Ray does know Ben. I call Ray and say to Ray that I would like to meet Ben.
Ray calls Ben and says Paul (me) wants to ‘Meet and greet’ him.
I get on the phone and even before I finish introducing myself, mention Ray as a mutual friend and that I am calling to ‘Meet and Greet’, Ben has already given me two dates to meet. The process usefully takes about 28 seconds.
Ben knows/ trusts Ray.
Ray knows Paul.
Ben agrees to meet Paul since there is trust component and that a ‘Meet and greet is exactly that …20-30 minutes to introduce myself and network.
What’s my point?
Networking does not have to be painful or difficult and you shouldn’t think about it too much. For my Romanian peers this concept is becoming more and more prevalent but there is still that feeling ‘why the hell would I help someone‘at which point I smirk since I have heard/seen this reaction so many times.
It’s a cultural thing I know…even many of my French friends are not too keen on networking either.
Here a few rules:
1) If you network only to get something in return – you lose. It doesn’t work that way!
2) It’s OK to help people…no really… give it a try and get out of your comfort zone.
3) Depending on your environment networking can become contagious where everyone wins.
If I look back at how I, as a foreigner in a foreign land successfully found clients, it’s because the people in the process were open.
My challenge for you is to help someone tomorrow … and you don’t need to move in an expensive apartment in Monaco either!